The proposed road diet for Elford Street involves reducing the number of travel lanes from four lanes to two lanes. This would allow room to consider amenities such as on-street parking and pedestrian and bicycle enhancements.
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The project team considered several options for pedestrian safety at this intersection and believes that the two alternatives outlined in the public survey strike a balance between pedestrian safety and traffic flow. Of the two, Alternative 1 is the more pedestrian-friendly option, as vehicles on College Street would be prohibited from turning left onto Academy Street during the pedestrian signal sequence.
There will be a shared-use path and new landscaping along the Landmark Building frontage on College Street. Driveway access to the parking garage will remain as it currently exists.
The traffic analysis conducted for College Street revealed that four lanes are not required in order to maintain acceptable traffic operations. By making improvements to several intersections along Academy Street, we anticipate being able to divert 3,000-4,000 vehicles a day from College to Academy and have modeled Academy to accommodate the new traffic counts and ensure that traffic can flow successfully.
There are no improvements planned for the intersection of North Main and Academy as part of this project; however, that intersection has been identified as a potential site for a future improvement project.
While a bridge/tunnel was not considered due to budget and right-of-way constraints, a diagonal crossing option was studied early in the project. We determined that a diagonal crossing lowers the level of service at this intersection and increases travel time along Academy to unacceptable levels. Additionally, with new development in the area, it is expected that all four corners of the intersection will be utilized in the future, therefore reducing the need for a diagonal crossing.
Drivers will only be able to turn right from Elford onto Academy - left turns will no longer be permitted. The City is also looking at ways to increase safety at the entrance and exit for St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
A cycle track and dedicated bike lanes were considered early in the project but to provide proper protection, a second lane of travel would have to be removed. Since that is not feasible, multi-use paths are the best method available to protect bike traffic.
Sidewalks will be larger and will be separated from vehicle traffic by a wide curb lawn with landscaping. Pedestrian crosswalks and push buttons will also be retimed and enhanced. Additionally, vehicle lane widths will be narrowed to reduce traffic speeds.
We will utilize narrowed travel lanes, shorter crosswalk distances, a raised median for pedestrian refuge, enhanced striping and potentially, a leading pedestrian interval, which gives pedestrians the opportunity to enter the crosswalk 3 to 7 seconds before vehicles are given a green light, to help slow traffic and protect pedestrians in the crosswalks.